Review: The Book of Marvels by Lorna Crozier

Stevie Howell review CrozierReviewed for the National Post
September 7, 2012

The Book of Marvels
By Lorna Crozier
Greystone Books
132 pp; $19.95

The day I was to begin reading Lorna Crozier’s The Book of Marvels, I tripped up the stairs at the subway, hurling my body, an un-sipped iced coffee, and this volume in three directions; it was the opposite of marvellous. But it was amazing how breaking out an old pair of shoes could have thrown off the foot’s muscle memory — how the mind undershot those pointier toes. It was a marvel, too, that an elbow didn’t break (all that coffee can leach calcium from the bone …), that the gauzy dress didn’t tear, that sticky liquid didn’t decoupage the book shut.

These musings are along the lines of what you will find within Lorna Crozier’s The Book of Marvels, a slim compendium of 85 vignettes on “everyday things” — a doorknob, a bowl, a shovel, the navel. Topics are traversed in roughly 75-150 words, and the range, juxtaposed with the brevity of each blurb, is dizzying: after all, there are expansive things that could be said about the distinctions between design and invention, between utility and beauty. But what makes this book work is Crozier’s lens: as a poet, she has long been adept at capturing small, ephemeral scenes; here, she examines materials in a broader phenomenological way, and taps into their cultural significance and antiquity.

Read the rest of the review here…